Bulleid weekend at the Bluebell

Originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Last Sunday I cycled down to Pool Valley to jump on a vintage bus taking me to Sheffield Park and the Bluebell Railway. It was their 'Giants of steam' weekend, to celebrate 40 years since the end of Southern steam. It could have been called Bulleid weekend because there were four of his pacifics in attendance: three Spamcans and one rebuilt West Country class loco, plus assorted others. Arriving on my not-so-vintage bus, the train at the staion I jumped on was being pulled by BR tank 80151, ah well. But then a train double-headed by West Country class 34028 Eddystone and visitor streamlined West Country class 34007 Wadebridge thundered in. Whoopee! I travelled 3rd class to Horsted Keynes, where the idea was to get a pint of Harvey's and check out the trains! First was 21C123 Blackmoor Vale in Southern Railway Malachite Green and Sunshine Yellow livery heading back to Sheffield Park, followed by SR U-class 2-6-0 1638 (no name). Terrier 55 Stepney running as a Brighton Works shunter in Stroudley's famous 'Improved Engine Green' (aka baby-shit brown), was tootling up and down pulling a guard's van. The Harvey's had run out and there was a queue at the bar so I hopped aboard the double-header to Kingscote, the end of the line, saw the engines change ends and came back to Sheffield Park, where I had a wander round the sheds. The 4th Bulleid pacific, visiting Battle of Britain class 34081 92 Squadron, in British Railways Brunswick Green livery with orange and black lining, was in the yard but didn't seem to be in steam. All around were other locos, silent and at rest. I watched Wadebridge go out again, on its own this time, and saw Blackmoor Vale come in, noticing that on the other side the nameplate said O.V.S. Bulleid, then it was off home on a proper red vintage bus. Next weekend I'm off to the East Lancs Railway at Bury for their steam gala.

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